The Strawberry Growing Cycle
The strawberries are planted around the first week in October. They are grown in raised beds covered with plastic with watering tubes in them. This drip irrigation system allows us to ensure that the strawberries have an adequate supply of water and nutrients. Our strawberry tips come from Prince Edward Island in Canada, and then are grown to the size plants that are ready for the field by another grower in North Carolina. Once the plants are delivered, the strawberries plugs are loaded up and ready to go into our soil in the field.
In the fall, the plants grow some and develop the crowns that determine how much the plants will yield in the spring. Then as the weather gets colder, the plants go dormant until sometime in March.
In the spring once the plants start growing again, if the temperature gets below 25 degrees we have to cover them with row covers. Once the blooms are out, if it gets below 35 degrees we also have to cover the strawberry plants to protect the blooms.
Honeybees and other pollinators help the wind with the pollination of the strawberry blooms. We also use integrated pest management (IPM) to keep the strawberry plants healthy. One way we do this is by putting predatory mites on the strawberries; they eat a type of mite that causes harm to the berries by sapping the plant's energy.
The weather and pests are ongoing challenges, but our tasty strawberries are worth it. We hope to see you at the patch!